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What TIG Rod Do I Use?

OK you bought a tig welder, you bought a tig welding torch, and you got some tungsten electrodes.

Now it's time to get some Tig Welding Rods.   

It's kind of hard to find information on what TIG welding rod to use for what metal. So I will give you some down and dirty advice on what rods you need to handle most anything.


I am not an engineer or metallurgist and I don't even play one on TV.

But here is what I do...


For Carbon Steels, and even 4130 chromoly, get some ER70S2 tig welding rod  or ER70S6

E70s2 mild steel tig welding rod - use for welding 4130 chromoly tubing, all mild steel, and even cast steel. (tip....if you have a roll of bare mig wire like e70s3 or e70s6, it will work great in a pinch...just snip some off and straighten...or better yet if its too small, double it up and chuck it up in a cordless drill and twist it tight so you wont have to feed so much wire)

  • Don't use coat hanger wire and don't use gas welding rods.  both will cause porosity and give you problems.
  • Since gas welding rods like RG45 look almost the same as tig rods, I have seen numerous situations where a welder was troubleshooting gas connections and changing cup size, where the only problem was using rg45 gas welding rods.
  • its always a good idea to look for an ID stamp or look at the package the rods came in to make sure you have er70s-2 or 6 rather than rg45 or rg65 gas welding rods. ( they dont have proper deoxidizers for tig welding)

ER70S-2 is cheap anyway. so why skimp??

ER70s-6 is an alternative to ER70S-2 and flows better in certain applications due to higher silicon content

For Stainless Steels, the most commonly welded stainless is 304L and its welded using er308L

ER308L stainless tig rod - when you know that you are welding 300 series stainless steel, (304 is the most common 300 series stainless used), you cant go wrong with er308L rods.

there are a lot of other stainless steel filler rods,  like 316L, 321 and others and if you know what you are welding, its best to use a match.

ER308L is also one of the best rods for free machining 303 stainless.

Aluminum Tig Welding Rods - 

4043 aluminum tig rod - the most versatile for 3003, 6061, a355 aluminum castings etc.

and do yourself a favor and get some 4047 aluminum filler rod for castings where porosity rares its ugly head.

Aluminum cube, 4047, 5356, 4043

4047 filler rod contains 12% silicon. That makes it flow better, with less porosity.

use 5356 for  6061 aluminum when the weld will be anodized after welding

There is a really good chart for selecting aluminum filler rods here


Tig Welding Rods for Dissimilar metals and more - ER309

er309L stainless - when mild steel is just too dirty and you need to tig it. 309 stainless will weld hot rolled steel without porosity.

This is not for critical welds that will kill somebody if the weld fails...but it works.

309 stainless is used routinely for making critical welds in the power generation industry. It is designed for welding stainless steel to carbon steel.

dissimilar metals, ER309L

Common sense would dictate that if that is the case , the resulting welds would be of a different chemistry on the carbon side of the weld than on the stainless side. Still, they hold up for years even under stress and thermal cycles...

So a bracket on your car should be no problem.

I hope these tips help!




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